WARRACKNABEAL lost one of its most beloved and inspirational leaders when Doug McColl passed away following a short illness yesterday.
Douglas Lyall McColl was born in Warracknabeal on Septmeber 29, 1928 and his middle name was a tribute to his mother’s family in being her maiden name.
When he finished school Doug moved to Melbourne to begin a pharmacy apprenticeship and returned to Warracknabeal on its completion in 1949 to work in his uncle’s pharmacy.
Mr McColl’s career as a pharmacist lasted over 60 years caring for his community.
His career saw a unique union with other registered pharmacists in the local area Ian Darling, Peter Hocking and Lindsay Smale when they amalgamated their businesses to work from one building which is now the Woodbine Craft Shop.
Mr McColl has devoted a lifetime of work and service to the community and to Rural Northwest Health and Warracknabeal and District Hospital.
He was involved with the hospital’s pharmacy for more than 50 years with a daily service offering inspiration, advice and local knowledge to all.
He was the hospital’s contract pharmacist from 1987, working three hours a day on campus.
He also served on the board of management of Warracknabeal and District Hospital and was made a Life Governor in 1960.
He knew his patients thoroughly and had a keen interest in every community member, particularly the town’s youth.
If the hospital ran short of pharmaceutical supplies during the weekend, nursing staff would ring Mr McColl and he would be there as quickly as possible.
And, if his dedication wasn’t already enough to keep him busy, Mr McColl also popped down to the hospital on the weekends to do a spot of gardening.
Despite his high workload with his business and the hospital Doug served his community faithfully and continually almost until his death.
As the Wimmera representative of the State Pharmacy Guild for eight years, Mr McColl was also a member of the Warracknabeal ambulance committee for 10 years and chairman for two.
He also spent 23 years on Warracknabeal Secondary College’s Advisory Council, including 10 years as its president.
Doug’s whole life revolved around his service to the community and his efforts and achievements are long and many. They include:
• Charter member of Apex in 1952
• Member of the committee that initiated the Warracknabeal Housing Society and its chairman for 20 years
• Inaugural member of the Warracknabeal Arts Council
• Member of the Warracknabeal Historical Society since its inception in 1962
• Organised and led the Warracknabeal clean up event since 1991and was appointed as ambassador by Ian Kieran in 2015
• Member of the Townscape committee
• Longtime hard-working supporter of Woodbine
• As an expert on native plants he was instrumental in planning and promoting the magnificent Anzac Park garden and helped keep the town’s garden beds in the main street alive during the recent floods.
Mr McColl’s untiring service and dedication to our town and the community was recognised in 1985 when he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal of which he was extremely proud.
Small rural towns need people with leadership, enthusiasm and pride in their community.
Doug epitomises that sense of dedication and love of home and has certainly made a difference to the lives of many people.
He not only devoted his time and commitment to his projects in such a large capacity but has backed this with donations of a private nature to many worthwhile causes.
He was generous to a fault and one of his last acts was the donation of a collection of classic photographs depicting iconic Warracknabeal sites to Rural Northwest Health earlier this year that now hang proudly in the Community Health Wing.
Doug was also awarded the 2011 Victorian Senior of the Year by Premier Ted Bailleu who said at the time, “Doug is among the many older Victorians whose wisdom and energy make a huge difference in the community”.
When Doug was not working for the community his other major passions were cricket, football and the environment.
Doug’s love of the community however came second to his wife of 49 years, Evelyn, and his family.
Doug’s funeral will be held this Friday at 11am at the Uniting Church. Full details see classifieds.